As part of my book launch for What’s in a Name Volume II, I am sharing some of the sometimes quirky jobs that I have taken on over the years. This ranged from chasing schoolboy postcard thieves along Southsea seafront… to selling bull semen at agricultural shows (I won’t go into too much detail about that one!) Anyway for the next two weeks I will schedule on my blog and then I will be handing the posts over to 12 kind friends who will host them for me. The first of these is D.G. Kaye on August 18th when I will detail my escapades in the shoe department of our local department store.
You can find last week’s post and all subsequent ones in the series in this directory. https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/sallys-odd-jobs-and-characters/
The Dental Surgery Part One
Following a year at secretarial college, and having gained my passes in shorthand and typing, I entered the full-time job market.
My experience along the seafront had at least prepared me for working life. I was usually punctual and didn’t take liberties with my lunch hour. I had even had my first managerial position, you could say, as I had been left in charge of my kiosk during Betty’s days off and holidays. Unfortunately this had not prepared me for the interviews that I attended and I was sorely disappointed to discover that the only job that was open, to a newly qualified secretary, was that of the lowly office junior.
I had earned two and six an hour along the seafront and at sixteen worked a forty-hour week. This gave me five pounds a week, plus tips, which were divided between all the staff. Because I was a student I did not pay tax and so I usually had at least seven pounds a week in my hand. I soon discovered that office juniors were lucky to get six pounds a week and that would be taxed.
Then fate took a hand. Smack bang in the middle of the job section of the local newspaper was an advertisement for a Dental Receptionist for a local private practice in Southsea. I will admit that the starting salary at £7 a week was an improvement on the other jobs I had chased, and the thought of a crisp white overall rather than the blue nylon one at the cafe on the seafront also appealed.
I went for the interview with Roland Phillips who at 67 was 50 years older than me. He wore half glasses and his hair was slicked back from rather an austere face. He sat behind his desk with his hands clasped in front of them and I remember thinking how dry they looked with very white nails. (I later discovered that my boss was fanatical about cleanliness which he needed to be with his hands in mouths all day.
It transpired that his dental nurse also doubled as his secretary and receptionist but the practice was far too busy for her to cope. My secretarial qualifications were acceptable but apparently I also got the job because of my accent on the phone… go with the flow I say.
I arrived on my first Monday and inbetween patients the very patient chairside assistant took me through my duties. My new boss expected me to read every file for the over 400 patients; acquainting myself with their previous treatments and also upcoming appointments. I would answer the phone and make appointments. I had to prepare daily lists of patients, extract their files and greet them when they arrived and show them to the waiting room. Following their appointment I would collect their file, decipher Roland’s summary and charges and prepare a bill to be sent out at the end of each month. I was also expected to manage the inventory of all equipment, drugs and other supplies and order as necessary, which proved to be very useful later on in the job.
I was expected to learn very quickly so that Miss Smith could return to her chairside duties full time, and it was quite a tough assignment. However, I did enjoy the job very much and looked forward to 9.00 each morning.
As I became more proficient, so my duties increased in responsibility, and when busy, I would be drafted in to help in the surgery with tasks such as mixing amalgam for fillings and developing x-rays. I was given the dental nurse training course to follow at home and I found myself spending my spare time on the project. Things were going along swimmingly for the first three months when an incident occured that was to bring about huge changes.
I was preparing the end of month accounts when I heard a heavy thud from the surgery. Thinking that a patient or even Mr. Phillips might have fallen I rushed in to find Miss Smith had collapsed. They had been in the middle of a delicate operation to remove a remaining root from a tooth that had just been extracted. This was a two-person job and one of those was now sitting shakily on one of the surgery chairs. Before I knew it I was wearing surgical gloves, keeping the patient’s mouth clear of fluids and handing the correct instruments to my boss.
After many years of not being able to have a baby… Miss Smith was pregnant and could not stand the sight of blood! So began a very intensive training course and my career took a very different path.
Mr. Roland Phillips was the inspiration for the dentist in Just an Odd Job Girl… a character I will never forget.
Next week – Xray mix ups – toupees and the miners strike.
My latest book – What’s in a Name – Volume Two.
Our legacy is not always about money or fame, but rather in the way that people remember our name after we have gone. In these sixteen short stories we discover the reasons why special men and women will stay in the hearts and minds of those who have met them.
Kenneth watches the love of his life dance on New Year’s Eve while Lily plants very special flowers every spring for her father. Martha helps out a work colleague as Norman steps back out into the world to make a difference. Owen brings light into a house and Patrick risks his life in the skies over Britain and holds back from telling a beautiful redhead that he loves her.In one way or another all these characters will be remembered by those whose lives they have touched.
There is also a bonus story introducing a new collection The Village Square to be published in 2018.
You can buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Whats-Name-Stories-Life-Romance-ebook/dp/B0748MLZ1W
Everything you need to know about how to buy my books and connect to me on social media is here: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/about-me/
Thank you for dropping by and your ongoing support.. It means a great deal to me.. thanks Sally